No Change

Jim Hollands   21 June 2015

IN the March 2010 issue of “Rye’s Own” the following pieces commented once again on the fact that Rye Town Council has less power than a village council – Governments Change, Councillors Change but it seems that Rye Town Councillors, whoever they might be, cannot see there is a way to get real decision making back to Rye Town Hall.

The only legitimate way is by splitting Rother into AREA COMMITTEES. Sounds very weak an area committee, but look at Manchester, they adopted the area committee system and have now been granted more power and finance in the form of a City Mayor, the same as London. Each area is responsible for planning and finance – They decide in their own communities on planning and where finance will be spent. People they know and have elected are in charge.

Just read the following, written five years ago, and tell us what has changed in Rye- Rye Town Council has been granted THE POWER OF WELLBEING – and told we can ‘advise’ on what we would like the NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN to look like – Come on Rye, stop letting them pull the wool over your eyes.

John Howlett Writes: March Issue 2008


On Monday February 8th, 2010, a meeting of the full Town Council was asked to agree to discuss with Rother District Council better procedures for the planning decisions that affect us all.

Did they vote to discuss improvement? No, they voted to defer further discussion. Indeed the discus­sion about a discussion was barely a discussion. As a comparative newcomer to Rye and used to different, more democratic procedures, I have to say that true open debate is not permitted within the Council’s medieval and proscriptive Standing Orders which seem designed to strangle the very dialogue that should be the basis of such debate.

Perhaps an ‘outsider’ does arrive with a different perspective. I came from a big ‘C’ small ‘c’ conserva­tive area of Kent just across the Rother where I was a Parish Councillor and where, after much pressure for change, Standing Orders within both Parish and Borough Councils were changed and the whole planning process became a great deal more open, democratic and consultative than the archaic and secretive systems in operation here and in Bexhull. I was and am still appalled that a Cinque Port, important not only to this area but to the whole country, is so unable to even marginally control its own affairs. A small and insignificant village over the border in Kent seems to have far greater influence over its planning than Rye (or for that matter Battle).

Jim Hollands Writes: March Issue 2008

Rye Council Stuck With A System That Does Not Work

I have said it before and no doubt I will say it again. Rye Town Council must get its head out of the sand and not be so fearful of change. They have no power, Rother will give them nothing but they still sit on their hands and argue amongst themselves.

These are 16 good people but unless they all see eye to eye, stop moaning and set out to get power restored to Rye Town Hall, they might just as well stay at home.

The only thing worth discussing at present and one which could go a long way towards changing things, is splitting Rother into three areas. This is the only legal way to get planning and fiscal decisions made in our Town Hall again. Since its inception in 1990, the area committee scheme has increased its take up year by year and now 26% of all Borough, District and City councils work under the Area Committee umbrella.

There is tremendous opposition to Area Committees by many District and County Councillors. The majority of Rye Councillors seem to be intimidated by them. But can’t our councillors understand the reason District and County are so much against splitting Rother is because they realise they will be losing their power to control our business and losing the cash they are getting from selling off our houses, schools and land plus the revenue from car parks both in Rye and Camber? Area Committees would mean that money could be used in Rye and the local villages, it would not be wasted on white elephants at Bexhill.

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